Do You Know What These Objects Are?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is into historical inventions, including the revolutionary, strange, and ill-conceived — everything from primitive 45 rpm record players to radiation monitors. However, some items in their fascinating digital archives defy explanation — no one is sure where they came from or what their functions are (time travel dial? witch detector?). The government is asking for your help in identifying mystery machines:

Do you hold the key to solving some gadget mysteries from the last century of U.S. science and technology? Visitors to the site can view the items and offer clues about the history and origins of some of these important artifacts.

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8 Comments on "Do You Know What These Objects Are?"

  1.  Yes.  They are, from left to right: 1.)  facsimile of George Washington’s bathroom scale, made for 1835 trade fair exhibit in Philadelphia; 2.)  early prototype label maker, subject of an aborted patent application by Elmer J. Fenstermacher, 1815, NYC; 3.) Keith Richards’ boyhood guitar amplifer, 1795 (note the unique Indian cherrywood finish and hamster-driven power supply).

  2.  Yes.  They are, from left to right: 1.)  facsimile of George Washington’s bathroom scale, made for 1835 trade fair exhibit in Philadelphia; 2.)  early prototype label maker, subject of an aborted patent application by Elmer J. Fenstermacher, 1815, NYC; 3.) Keith Richards’ boyhood guitar amplifer, 1795 (note the unique Indian cherrywood finish and hamster-driven power supply).

  3. Anonymous | May 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    I’m definitely going to date myself by asking this–but does anyone remember the Liar’s Club? Game show from the 70’s where they passed around strange objects and devices to a panel, each of them had to make up a purpose for the object and the contestants had to determine which panelist was not lying. This story reminds me of that. 

  4. bookwench | May 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

    I’m definitely going to date myself by asking this–but does anyone remember the Liar’s Club? Game show from the 70’s where they passed around strange objects and devices to a panel, each of them had to make up a purpose for the object and the contestants had to determine which panelist was not lying. This story reminds me of that. 

  5.  You made my day.
    I think your right.

  6. so important no one knows what they are 

  7. so important no one knows what they are 

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